Learn how to effectively attack hilly run courses

By Kaye Lopez | Photo by Kyle Kranz/Unsplash
Keep it Steady on Your Way to the Top

These days, almost every triathlete owns some sort of GPS-enabled device such as the recently launched Garmin Forerunner 920xt. While these devices have certainly made training and measuring performance easier and more convenient, relying solely on these devices hampers an athlete’s ability to train and race by feel or effort. Maintaining an even effort, rather than pace, is an important skill to learn when tackling long climbs. Instead of forcing yourself to run uphill at the same pace as you did on the flats, focus on your breathing and heart rate and adjust accordingly. If your breathing becomes noticeably heavier, slow down to a more manageable pace you can sustain all the way to the top. This will prevent you from blowing up early in the race.

Don’t Rest at the Crest

If you paced yourself well on the way up, you shouldn’t feel the need to slow down or maintain short strides when you get to the crest. You need to consciously snap out of this rhythm and resume longer strides as soon as the road tapers.

Let Gravity Do the Work

Running downhill obviously requires less effort than running uphill but it’s not as easy as you think. Some get intimidated by all the pounding and end up braking on the descents, putting them at an even higher risk of injury. Let gravity work for you rather than against you by focusing on good form. Keep your arms wide and low for balance, shorten your stride, and focus on quick turnover. You know you can push harder as you begin to breathe slower and quieter.